Not a horror headline but a glimpse of the lighter side of life in Newtown. Not all the poems in Newtown Voices are directly related to the Guardian’s front page stories. This was a small news item towards the middle of the paper that caught my eye. Cathy’s Child was an Australian film about the true story of a Maltese mother’s efforts to get her little daughter back from Greece, where the father had taken her. Some scenes were filmed in Newtown streets and a local pub, the Carlisle Castle, reputed to be one of Sydney’s oldest pubs. In 1977, the Carlisle celebrated its centenary. In 1978 it was the venue for some crucial scenes in the film.
The Carlisle Castle, Albermarle St, Newtown. Photo:Jon Graham & G’day Pubs
Some scenes of Cathy’s Child were shot in other parts of Sydney, but Newtown was chosen for crucial scenes because of the large numbers of Greek, Maltese, Polish and other European migrants living there, giving an “ethnic atmosphere,” as the Guardian put it. The film was directed by Donald Crombie, and based on a book by Dick Wordley who had interviewed the real Cathy Baikis. Cathy was played by relatively unknown Michelle Fawdon, who won Best Actress in a Leading Role at the AFI Awards in 1979. Also a newly rising star was 31-year-old Bryan Brown, who played The Sun’s Hot Line editor Paul Nicholson .
This little story gave me the starting point for a poem about everyday pleasures for Harry, her friend Buzz, and Tom, the deputy editor of the Voice, who fancies Harry (despite thinking her name’s stupid). The story is told by Harry.:
Buzz woke me up early this morning, throwing
two cent coins at my window. Quick, get dressed
an come down, we’re gonna watch the filming. Err,
what? I mumbled, not fully awake. The filming,
she said, impatiently, Cathy’s Child, come on, we
gotta get a good pozzie. We scooted round to
the Carlisle Castle, a couple of blocks from the
Courthouse (both the real court next to the cop
shop, and the pub.)
Both the Courthouse, known by all as the Courty or Courties, and the Carlisle Castle are still much loved local pubs, as is the Art Deco style Marlborough (the Marly), on the corner of King St and Missenden Road (and on the cover of Newtown Voices). They are the three main pubs, but as Harry says, ‘Newie’s got a pub on every corner, just about.’
After they’ve seen the small amount of filming outside the Carlisle in Albermarle St, Buzz and Harry team up with Tom, who’s finished interviewing the film’s director, and they all go round to the Courties (Tom’s favourite pub) for beer and bacon and egg rolls.
Tom told us some funny yarns about the cops and local
identities, maybe a bit slanderous, but I don’t
know any of the people he was gossiping about,
so it didn’t matter. Buzz was cackling away; being
a local, she knew just who Tom was talking about.
It was fun, the three of us, beers and bacon rolls
and a lazy winter’s morning in Newie.
The Courthouse Hotel, Australia St, Newtown. Photo:G’day Pubs